The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sends out a warning to parents about the safety risks that jewelry used for relieving teething pain pose for children. The items should not be used to relieve teething pain in children or to provide sensory stimulation to persons with special needs, such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The FDA has received reports of death and serious injuries to infants and children, including strangulation and choking, caused by teething jewelry, such as amber teething necklaces.
Teething jewelry can come in various forms, including a necklace, bracelet or anklet, and can be worn by either an adult or child. Such products are produced and sold by a large number of manufacturers and individuals. They are often used by parents and caregivers to relieve infants’ teething pain and other ailments. Teething jewelry may also be used by people with special needs, such as autism or ADHD, to provide sensory stimulation or redirect chewing on clothes or body parts. The beads of the jewelry may be made with various materials such as amber, wood, marble or silicone.
“We know that teething necklaces and jewelry products have become increasingly popular among parents and caregivers who want to provide relief for children’s teething pain and sensory stimulation for children with special needs. We’re concerned about the risks we’ve observed with these products and want parents to be aware that teething jewelry puts children, including those with special needs, at risk of serious injury and death,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “
The risks of using jewelry for relieving teething pain include choking, strangulation, injury to the mouth and infection. Choking can happen if the jewelry breaks and a small bead enters the child’s throat or airway. Strangulation can occur if a necklace is wrapped too tightly around the child’s neck or if the necklace catches an object such as a crib. Other concerns include injury to the mouth or infection if a piece of the jewelry irritates or pierces the child’s gums.
Consumers should consider following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations of alternative ways for treating teething pain, such as rubbing inflamed gums with a clean finger or using a teething ring made of firm rubber. Given the breadth of the market for these teething necklaces and jewelry, we’re sharing this important safety information directly to consumers in order to help prevent injuries in infants and kids.”
The FDA issued a safety alert after receiving a small number of medical device reports, including one death. One report involved a 7-month old child who choked on the beads of a wooden teething bracelet while under parental supervision and was taken to the hospital, and another involved an 18-month old child who was strangled to death by his amber teething necklace during a nap.